Single-Engine Sleighs Navigate Remote Wilderness

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"These are very remote areas we fly to," says Don Carey, Utah Wing Leader of Angel Flight West. "We launch from Salt Lake City, and it's about two hours to Bluff, in a Warrior. There's nothing but wilderness for miles and miles. There's no access from major highways. Last year, we flew to Navajo Mountain, where the runway was a graded dirt road." Bluff, where the group has landed every year, does have a lonely asphalt strip, but no instrument approaches. "Fog is our biggest weather issue so far," says Carey. The first year, they tried to fly on Christmas Eve and the weather didn't cooperate. Now they plan to fly sometime during the week before Christmas, then firm up the schedule depending on the weather. The pilots enjoy the opportunity to fly together, he said. "Most of the time, flying an Angel Flight is a very solitary thing. You don't interact much with other pilots. So it's fun to do something together as a group." Most pilots are from the Salt Lake area, but others have joined in from around the state.